Arguably the most validation-centric social media platform, Instagram is considering doing away with what is perhaps the number-one thing that makes the Insta-world go round: likes.
The platform first announced plans to hide like counts earlier this year, and the first tests of the new like-free Instagram rolled out in April. The company launched the first trial in Canada, and now it’s expanding the tests to six more countries, TechCrunch reported.
The new design hides likes on other users’ posts, but still allows posters to see likes on their own content, so users can still turn to Instagram for a hit of private validation when they need it. According to Instagram, hiding likes will help users focus on the photos and videos shared, rather than getting hung up on competition for likes.
“We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love,” Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy, said in a statement.
As BBC noted, many studies and critics have linked social media use to low self-esteem and poor mental health, which Instagram’s new, less-competitive model hopes to combat.
The latest expansion of the test affects users in Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to the already-active trial in Canada. For the time being, Instagram users in the U.S. are still free to flaunt their like counts and openly measure their success on the platform in double taps.
This isn’t the only recent change Instagram has made in the name of establishing a healthier online community. Earlier this month, the platform announced new anti-bullying features.
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